Finding Your Identity (and what that has to do with Jesus)

find my identity

Nate Larkin, Samson And The Pirate Monks

I recently heard a man speak by the name of Nate Larkin. Nate wrote a book called Samson and the Pirate Monksand in his book and during his talk he spoke of the different personas he developed as he navigated life. For church and when he was in the presence of God there was Saint Nate. Saint Nate was good (at least on the outside), he memorized scripture, and he said all the right things. He polished that persona to perfection. Nate was great at looking bright and shiny to other Christians. But later, in high school, he found girls weren’t attracted to Saint Nate, so he developed another persona he calls Date Nate. Date Nate was smooth and fun and cool. And you know what? It worked. He could find dates when he took on the Date Nate persona. Then he met the girl of his dreams. But the only problem was, she didn’t like Date Nate. So he invented yet another persona he calls Mate Nate. And that worked too. The girl of his dreams married Mate Nate. Awhile later Nate entered the ministry. But he did so while carrying a dark secret: he was a sex addict, addicted to porn since his teens. After a few years working for a church, Nate noticed several high profile Continue reading

Please Pray For Peter-John Courson

I recently learned a friend underwent surgery because he had 18-20 abscesses on his brain–one was the size of an egg. His name is Peter-John Courson. He was my neighbor for eleven years. He married my son and daughter-in-law. He prayed for me when I was in the hospital. He has a wife and four young daughters. He’s a great brother and a man of God. His surgery was Monday and as of Wednesday he’s still not yet alert and oriented.

He’s battled severe Crohn’s disease for years but brain surgery was completely unexpected by the family. The next few days are critical.

It would mean alot to me if you would pray for him.

If you want to learn more, you can check out his dad’s Bible study. The part about Peter starts around seven minutes in.

Roseburg Shooting

I know it might sound a little strange, but, when you’re praying for the families of the slain, the family of the shooter, the firefighters, police, medical personnel, dispatchers, and all the others–please don’t forget to pray for my friend Fred Saada and all the other chaplains serving there in Roseburg.

“God give them strength, and fill them with the Spirit of Jesus.”

Here’s a recent Facebook post from Fred about the current situation there:

Long two days in Roseburg and it is just the beginning of picking up the pieces that evil has strewn all over the region and beyond. Several of us Chaplains are serving the torn, the weary, the brokenhearted and those who are mourning this senseless and evil act. But evil will not prevail. Jesus, the Light of the World, has overcome the world and its evil.

John 16:33
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

–Fred Saada

The Flip Side Of Envy

Envy ChristianHe said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. (John 1:39-42a)

One Day With Jesus

So last post from the book of John we saw how John the Baptist was with two of his disciples when Jesus walked by. “Behold the Lamb of God,” John the Baptist said. And these two disciples of John the Baptist, they immediately left him and followed Jesus.

When Jesus saw them following, he asked, “What do you want?”

And the two responded, “Where are you staying?”

And Jesus said, “Come and see.”

So they did. They followed Jesus to where he was staying. And they spent the day with him.

Imagine what you would ask if you spent the day with the Messiah. These two former disciples of John the Baptist, now Jesus’ first two disciples, probably spent the day asking the same questions. Whatever the discussion, we know from what happens next that they were deeply and profoundly impacted, because one of them, Andrew (the other isn’t named) leaves Jesus to tell his brother who they found.

Peter’s Brother

“Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother,” that’s how Andrew is referred to in our text. That’s how Andrew is usually referred to throughout scripture, as Simon Peter’s brother. One imagines that it was that way for Andrew, for a long time. We can imagine Andrew growing up hearing himself referred to in this way: “You know who I’m talking about, Simon’s brother.” Do you know someone like Andrew? Someone who is always referred to as “so and so’s brother?” If you do, you know it can be a point of contention. Envy can creep in. And when envy creeps in, that person who’s referred to as “so and so’s brother” begins to wish for, hope for, and even enjoy the defeats and failures of the person who is the object of their envy. That’s just how envy works.

You might think that Andrew, having lived in his brother’s shadow all these years, would have looked at his new relationship with the Messiah as an opportunity: an opportunity to escape his brother’s shadow, an opportunity for Andrew to shine for himself.

“I’m Andrew, the very one who found the Messiah (with a little help from John the Baptist). Maybe now they’ll call Simon, ‘Andrew’s brother.'”

But to Andrew’s great credit, he didn’t let envy or anything else get in his way. After spending one day with Jesus, he felt compelled to find his brother Simon and to tell Simon all about who he, Andrew, just found: the Messiah, the Christ.

The Flip Side Of Envy

But there’s another side of envy that we rarely hear discussed. The flip side of envy is Continue reading

The One Thing That Changed Everything For Me As A Christian

Why don't I feel joy
Read John 1:35-39.

“What are you seeking?” (John 1:38)

Why Don’t I Feel Joy?

So you’re a Christian. And you’re wondering why you feel the way you do. I mean, you read about, and hear about joy, and fulfillment, and an abundant rich life in Christ, but, that’s not what you feel. That simply has not been your experience. Maybe you feel anxiety, frustration, or even depression, and you’re wondering why.

This blog post answers that question, and offers you a chance to change everything. Continue reading

Did Jesus Need the Holy Spirit? (And do you and I?)

Holy Spirit

And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34)

We know very little of Jesus’ life before he went public with his teachings and his miracles. We know something of his birth. And we know about the time his parents lost track of him when he was twelve years old, when he was hanging out in the temple. But that’s it.

Did Jesus Need the Holy Spirit? Continue reading

What Jesus Looks Like (In New Haven, Connecticut)

This is what Jesus looks like.


A group of churches in the New Haven area are collaborating to show Jesus’ love to the people of their city. Recently 1,000 volunteers contributed to 72 different service projects in New Haven. They call their group Bridges of Hope and they collaborate and cooperate with institutions of all faiths, and no faith, for the common good when consistent with Christ’s values. You can check them out over at the Bridges of Hope website.

This is what Jesus looks like–in New Haven, Connecticut.

“…who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10-29-37)

How the lambs of the Bible bleed a stream of blood (that leads to Jesus)– John 1:24-31

Jesus in Old Testament In our last post from the gospel of John we saw how John the Baptist was grilled with questions. And he answered all their questions, all the questions asked by this group of inquisitors sent from the Pharisees.

One Last Question

So now they ask him one final question: “Okay, if you’re not the Messiah, and you’re not that prophet, and you’re not Elijah, then why do you baptize?” (In those days baptism was for gentiles newly converted to Judaism, but John was baptizing Jews. This was unorthodox and confusing to the religious leadership.)

John the Baptist says, Continue reading